american-idol-season-9-promo-picThe boys strutted their stuff on “American Idol” tonight, (Wednesday, March 10th), and, as usual, I’ll try to predict who’s in trouble and who is going to sail through tomorrow night. The fact that I’m so rarely correct shouldn’t stop you from reading this and feeling superior tomorrow night.

The show began with one of the front-running favorites, Lee DeWyze, singing “Fireflies” while clad in a blue/black/green Woodsmen-fell-that-tree plaid shirt.  The remarks were not Lee’s usual high ones, with Simon saying, “There was nothing to rave about. You are better than the version of the song you just did.” Randy didn’t much care for it, either, saying, “For me, it was a strange choice. But you made it work. You worked it out.” Randy also criticized some pitch problems and Ellen concurred but added, “I know a lot of people like you.” Kara was the most complimentary, saying, “You look confident. I think the song was a better song with your interpretation. A solid job.” So, is Lee in trouble? In one word, No.

Next up was Alex Lambert, who sang “Trouble.” If Alex weren’t such a cutie-pie, I’d say he was IN trouble. He has a nasal quality to his singing and Ellen, who has previously compared him to an unripe banana that needs to ripen, said, “Don’t become a cocky banana, because nobody likes that.’ The “vulnerability to be you…to let go” was discussed and Kara said, “That’s what we need from you,” while Simon added, “Relax and have a good time.” I think Alex is too cute to get sent home.

After Alex came Tim Urban, who is usually crucified by the judges. Tim sang the Jeff Buckley version of “Hallelujah” and Ellen went so far as to get out from behind the judges’ table, walk up, and give him a hug, while saying, “That was fantastic.” Randy said, “You walked in some pretty big shoes, and I think you did a pretty good job.” Kara commented, “I actually think you’re kind of in it now.” Simon then took responsibility for Tim’s sudden improvement saying,”I kind of feel responsible for you doing well, because I gave you confidence. It’s not the best version I’ve ever heard, but, for you, it was terrific.” In other words, it was a compliment along the lines of, “For a fat girl, you don’t sweat much,” hug or no hug.

Andrew Garcia was up next and, for the umpteenth time, he sang a female star’s song, this time Christina Aguilara’s “Genie in a Bottle.” Nobody really liked it. Simon said, “It was a little bit desperate. You’ve overthought it. You’re kind of still going backwards at the moment.” The backwards remark was from Andrew’s earlier version of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” during Hollywood week, which is the only thing anyone wants to talk about with Andrew. I thought he was bad last week and his suit was worse. Ellen said, “The genie came out of the bottle too late.” Kara remarked, “You peaked so early. I couldn’t hear the melody.  It just wasn’t great, and I wanted it to be.” Randy commented on the fact that it was “pitchy” and “It made us feel like the whole song was only 3 notes.” Wave good-bye to Andy.

Casey James, another favorite of the judges…(or, at least, of Kara’s)…sang a Keith Urban song “You’ll Think of Me” and was criticized by Randy for having chosen a song that was “a little bit of a safe choice. I feel like you’ve got more of that edgy Stevie Ray Vaughn in you.” Ellen, however, said: “I thought it was great. I really liked it.” Kara commented, “This was better than last week. It was honest, definitely.”  Simon thought it was Casey’s second best performance, so far and said, “It made you sincere. You sounded great.” No way is Casey getting kicked off with his sex appeal, but his hair looked really scraggly/awful this night.

Aaron Kelly, who is only 16, came out and sang “I’m Already There,” a song about a father calling home and talking to his son, which Kara felt was pushing it, (for a sixteen-year-old.) Simon disagreed with Kara’s comment, calling it “complete rubbish,” and Randy advised, “The thing you should work on is your lower register.” In my opinion, Aaron should also work on his upper register, which was annoying in the extreme. When he sang the word “hotel,” he was flat and his attempts to sell the song by bobbing back and forth reminded me of the one-year-old, Elise, who does the same thing which her parents (my son and wife) have dubbed “The Dora Dance,” because she does it while watching “Dora the Explorer” on television. The video is posted on YouTube (Elise does the Dora Dance.) Ellen’s comments to Aaron were; “I love you. You’re 16. You have the confidence of someone 30 years old. I just didn’t think that was terrific.” Ellen was right, and I think Aaron’s song title (“I’m Already There”) sums up where he will be after tomorrow night: already back home.

Last, but certainly not least were Todrick Hall, singing “Somebody to Love” by Queen, which was refreshing after so many male singers sitting on stools singing quiet, desperate songs. Todrick did have on one of his odd outfits, which resembled nothing so much as a riding outfit with jodhpurs and a slash-zippered jacket and single glove. Simon even commented, of Todrick, “So you’re a Broadway singer” remarking, especially on the one glove. He said, “There were so many boring performances with people sitting on a stool playing a guitar. That performance may have saved you.” I certainly hope so. Randy commented, “Todrick is back. That was one of the best vocals.” Ellen liked the way Todrick made the song sound “like a Gospel song. Man, you’re great, and I commend you for doing that song.” Kara also commented “the singing was good.” Todrick should be able to hang on, unless America thinks Aaron is too cute to send home, but there is no comparison between the talent level of the inexperienced Aaron and the Broadway veteran Todrick, so do the right thing, America, and send Aaron home to grow up a bit and try out again another year.

All the judges were “wowed” by the final performer of the night, Michael “Big Daddy” Lynche, who sang “This Woman’s Work.” He was wearing a suit jacket with sneakers and blue jeans and began with a high falsetto. Randy: “Really? That was crazy.  Yo, Mike, that was hot!” Ellen: “You are the one to beat now.” Kara; “It’s amazing. It brought me to tears.” Simon: “This was so needed tonight. It was all so boring. You 100% nailed it. Best of the night and of all these lives shows so far.”

So, who’s going home? Should be Andrew and Aaron…. alphabetically, at least…with an outside chance that Todrick isn’t the favorite of the teeny-boppers of America who actually pick up the phone and vote.